UPDATE: Shooting in downtown White Center kills 2

June 11th, 2021 at 3:58 pm Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 29 Comments »

(Texted photo)

3:58 PM: Sheriff’s deputies are arriving at the scene of a shooting reported on 16th SW near SW 98th in downtown White Center. One person is reported to have been shot. No one is reported in custody. Deputies are closing traffic on adjacent streets. “Multiple rifle and pistol casings” are reported (described as “40 cal and .223”). Avoid the area.

(WCN/WSB photos/video from here, by Patrick Sand)

4:17 PM: Deputies have told dispatch there may be a second victim who someone is taking to the hospital. Also, an additional car is reported to have a bullet hole. Meantime, dispatch has told deputies that “two people with gunshot wounds” are in the ER at Harborview Medical Center.

4:21 PM: And dispatch reports “a third” person was just “dropped off” at the hospital. And that’s all before the victim at the scene was taken there – a medic unit is just now departing White Center with that person.

4:32 PM: Our crew at the scene sent that photo of deputies with shell-casing markers outside Taradise Café. Deputies told dispatch that witnesses described the shooter as a Black man in his 30s wearing an orange hoodie, gray beanie, and light-blue jeans, He was reportedly shooting from “behind cover” of a vehicle parked nearby. A victim is reported to have been in this car that subsequently went up on the sidewalk and into the business building on the northeast corner of 16th/98th.

5:27 PM: Our crew is still at the scene and we expect a briefing soon by KCSO’s spokesperson; we’ll add the update when that happens. Also, if you’re noticing a helicopter – that’s TV.

5:52 PM: KCSO’s Sgt. Tim Meyer confirms four people were shot and says two have died. (added) He wouldn’t confirm anything else, but for the record, here’s our video of his briefing:

7:07 PM: We also added more photos inline above. Also note more gunshot damage – like this business window:

A commenter on our partner site West Seattle Blog says she saw the shooting happen, amid an apparent argument.

We’ll add any new details that emerge tonight and beyond.

10:15 PM: Deputies have told dispatch that roads are reopening.

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CONGRATULATIONS! Evergreen High School Class of 2021 graduates Saturday

June 11th, 2021 at 2:00 am Posted in Evergreen High School, Highline School District, White Center news | 1 Comment »

It’s graduation season, and Evergreen High School‘s Class of 2021 will celebrate with a ceremony on Saturday (June 12th). It’s set for 6 pm at Highline Memorial Stadium; a shuttle for grads who need a ride there will leave EHS at 4:30 pm. See the full list of Highline Public Schools graduations here.

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Community Investment Committee members announced

June 8th, 2021 at 11:51 am Posted in King County, White Center news | No Comments »

The new Community Investment Committee‘s been announced and has already had its first meeting (last Saturday). Here’s the announcement of who’s on it, including five people from North Highline:

A new community-centered budget process is underway, with the selection of 21 committee members who will develop a $10 million investment plan in unincorporated King County. The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.

“Centering communities in this budget process means that more voices will be a part of the process to invest in the future of unincorporated King County, and that’s going to lead to better processes, better connections between partners, and a bright future for everyone,” said Executive Constantine. “I want to thank the committee members for stepping up and helping chart the course.”

Over the two months, King County Local Services accepted applications from dozens of residents who were hoping to serve on the committee. The members represent the five urban unincorporated areas of West King County:

Skyway (five members)
White Center/North Highline (five members)
East Federal Way (five members)
Fairwood (three members)
East Renton Highlands (three members)

The committee held its first meeting on June 4 and will meet regularly to create the guidebook for Local Services’ “Participatory Budgeting” effort. Committee members will also engage the community in the participatory budgeting process.

“I’m really excited to have this opportunity to take a valuable resource and have it directed, by community, to make decisions about what’s best for folks in their community,” said Community Investment Committee Member Emijah Smith.

Below are the Community Investment Committee members and the areas they represent:

North Highline/White Center: Emijah Smith, Marissa Jauregui, Sahle Habte, Carmen Smith, Kimnag Seng
Skyway/West Hill: Ayanna Brown, Yvette Dinish, Curtis Taylor, Jamoni Owens, Rebecca Berry
East Federal Way: Trenise Rogers, Jimmy Brown, Serena Evans-Satoran, Anna Irungu, Zayda Quintana
East Renton: Ajala Wilson-Daraja, Yordanos Teferi, Deborah Eberle
Fairwood: Noni Ervin, Michelle Faltous, Elizabeth Singer

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. In King County Local Services’ case, this work will allow the community to decide how to spend the following two funds:

-$10 million on capital projects in these urban unincorporated areas. The funds can be used for anything that needs to be built or replaced, like buildings, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, signs, and play structures.
-$1.3 million for services or programs in Skyway/West Hill and North Highline/White Center. This funding can be used for almost anything, like after-school programs, job training, building maintenance, food, art supplies, and investments in play structures or sidewalks.

The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.

The committee will also help design the larger Participatory Budgeting process to make sure that communities have control over how this money is spent and that funded projects will address real community challenges and have the most benefit. The committee will also be heavily engaged in collaborating with local community-based organizations and performing outreach to their respective communities.

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SUNDAY: June meeting of Camp Second Chance’s Community Advisory Committee

June 5th, 2021 at 11:24 pm Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | No Comments »

Camp Second Chance, a tiny-house encampment supported by the City of Seattle, is just east of White Center, so you might be interested in its monthly Community Advisory Committee meeting for updates and questions. It’s online at 2 pm tomorrow (Sunday, June 6th). Here’s how to attend/participate:

Join Meeting instantly:
us02web.zoom.us/j/85855234269?pwd=aG1yeDkzTWtmS0MyVENLUzRsYXNBQT09

If needed:
Meeting ID: 858 5523 4269
Password: 9701

Sane codes apply if you dial in – 253-215-8782

Want to be on the mailing list for meeting announcements? c2ccacchair@gmail.com

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PHOTOS: White Center Pride flag raised for 2021

June 2nd, 2021 at 9:12 pm Posted in People, White Center news | No Comments »

A beautiful night for a flag-raising! The White Center Pride flag went up today, along with a brand-new American flag to fly alongside it. Spectators watched from outside Mac’s Triangle Pub:

The parklet around the flagpole got a few extra decorations too:

Goodie bags for local merchants were assembled:

Even stickers:

Watch here for Pride Month events.

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Youth, parks, roads, permitting, taxes @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting Thursday

June 1st, 2021 at 5:55 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

Almost time for June’s NHUAC meeting! Here’s the announcement:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When? Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 7 pm

How? Join Zoom Meeting at:

us02web.zoom.us/j/87572299021?pwd=L3Y4d21RUUMrbjI4L25VY3pLSHYwZz09

Meeting ID: 875 7229 9021 Passcode (case sensitive): NHUAC2021
Unable to join via Zoom? Please Call: 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 875 7229 9021 Passcode: 545542019

NHUAC’s June 3rd meeting is going to be the last before our summer break. Our guests will discuss a variety of topics including local youth, parks, roads, permitting and taxes.

Please join us as we welcome Lina Rose of King County Parks; Darlene Sellers of the Teen Program at Steve Cox Memorial Park; Marissa Jauregui of the Coalition for Drug-Free Youth; Danielle de Clerc, Deputy Director of Local Services; and Mark Rowe, Deputy Director of the Permitting Division.

Be there or be unaware!

Knowledge is power.

Learn, share, and help make North Highline a better and healthier place.

June 3, 2021 at 7 pm – Tell a Neighbor!

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GRATITUDE: White Center Refresh/Spring Clean volunteer cleanup results, by the numbers

May 31st, 2021 at 2:12 pm Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | 3 Comments »

Thanks to Mark Ufkes for sending the photos and report:

White Center Community Development Association (White Center CDA) Executive Director Sili Savusa wants to thank everyone for helping with the 2021 White Center Refresh/Spring Clean during the past two weekends. Our community of volunteers commented over and over again to our organizing staff how much they love being part of White Center and are proud to live here. This year’s White Center Refresh/Spring Clean resulted in:

-65 volunteers signed up, contributing over 200 hours of community service to White Center.
-15 projects were completed, including the restoration of our White Center Community Bulletin Board on 16th and 98th.
-21 buildings had graffiti cleaned or removed.

-All five White Center Welcome signs were restored, cleaned-up or had flowers added.
-Volunteers used 15 gallons of paint to cover graffiti.
-Volunteer artists restored the West Seattle Lions mural and the large mural at Rosticeria y Cocina El Paisano from graffiti damage.
-Five business or property owners, including El Paisano, thanked our crews by donating excellent meals and water to our site volunteers.
-Over 25 large lawn bags of clean green and/or trash were removed from White Center.
-Eight future Eagle Scouts helped out.
-Dozens of cars honked as they passed our sites to thank our crews for improving White Center.

The White Center CDA reminds businesses, property owners, and residents that the best way to help White Center reduce graffiti is to:

-Keep your building clean and neat. It will be less likely to be vandalized in the future.
-Cover graffiti quickly when it shows up and replace any broken windows or other damage. This will reduce future graffiti vandalism.
-Paint murals on your building. Graffiti is less likely at sites that have existing public art on building walls already.
-Monitor your business or building with video cameras to document graffiti vandalism.

Thanks everyone again for helping make our effort a success. White Center gets better every year, thanks to all of you.

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Vaccination pop-up in White Center on Friday

May 27th, 2021 at 3:30 pm Posted in Coronavirus, White Center news | No Comments »

The Seattle Fire Department mobile vaccination team is making a stop in White Center. On Friday (May 28th), the MVT will be at Future Primitive (9832 14th SW), 5:45 pm-8 pm. SFD says getting vaccinated will get you a free beer or non-alcoholic beverage. They plan to offer all three vaccines,no appointment necessary, just show up.

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From timeline to trees: See newest details of White Center HUB project, and what happens next

May 26th, 2021 at 7:07 pm Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | No Comments »

(Rendering by SKL Architects – community-center side of the HUB)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

What’s up with the White Center HUB affordable-housing/community-center project long planned for 8th/108th?

That was answered in an online meeting tonight, facilitated by Aaron Garcia of the White Center Community Development Association, which is leading the project. He began by explaining the inspiration of the project – housing affordability, as well as ‘we’ve heard time and time again we need a place where we can be a community … This project embodies what the community’s been asking for, for years.”

The project’s roots go back about five years. and the 10821 8th SW project – HUB for Hope, Unity, Belonging – has a mission and vision:

A challenge is that the site currently holds White Center Food Bank and a shelter. WCFB was originally a partner but chose not to continue participating and that is why it is seeking a new home. As for the Mary’s Place shelter, the affordable housing in the HUB project will hopefully help address the root cause of homelessness, Garcia said. They are vowing to support the “original owners of the land,” the Duwamish Tribe, too.

The HUB will be WCCDA’s new home, with a commercial kitchen, a child-care center, a hall, and more. Southwest Youth and Family Services, currently headquartered in West Seattle, is a partner; its executive director Steve Daschle spoke about the services SWYFS provides, including education and counseling, resources for immigrants and refugees, New Futures afterschool programming/family support at 5 housing complexes, Becoming a Man groups, a new project in Highline Public Schools, and more. “This is very exciting for us,” Daschle said of the HUB project.

Another partner, the YES Foundation of White Center, whose co-founder Pat Thompson also spoke. This year they’re presenting summer sports camps for ages 6-14, something they’ve done annually (except for last year because of the pandemic); they also present a program for Pacific Islander youth called Our Future Matters, as well as Comida for Central American youth “from all over the Highline school district.” YES Foundation in particular has a partnership with Cascade Middle School that involves a recording studio, and Thompson said one will be built at the HUB for program and wider community use. She called the HUB “a dream come true.”

FEEST Seattle will be a partner too; its executive director Jaimée Marsh explained the food justice and health equity missions of the program, which works with four high schools in the Seattle and Highline districts. Cooking and gathering for dinners is a hallmark of FEEST programming, but it’s expanded into advocacy. The space will enable them not only to host dinners but also to gather for organizing advocacy.

And HealthPoint will provide medical services. HealthPoint’s Eric Dunn said the organization is a network of clinics plus school-based health centers (including one at Evergreen High School). Their clinics offer medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and more, including naturopathic care.

They’re hoping to have pop-up shop space for local entrepreneurs and a makers’ space at the HUB too.

Next, the housing component of the project: Mason Cavell of Community Roots Housing, which developed Unity Village too, led that presentation. It would have 76 units of affordable housing, from 1 through 4 bedrooms – 14 one-bedrooms, 32 two-bedrooms, 26 three-bedrooms, and 4 four-bedrooms. “We’re trying very hard to offer the deepest levels of affordability” – including units that will be priced from 30% area mean income to 60% area mean income. Solar panels, low-flow water fixtures, and other efficiency features are planned.

Gladys Ly-Au Young from SKL Architects, the project manager, spoke next. She showed the site conditions.

She noted that the site has many big trees. They held some community design sessions about a year ago. That led to a “radial scheme” they’re working with now.

It’s centered on a big madrone tree. They envision a covered “community porch” that could be the site of activities. Here’s the site plan:

She also showed the floor plan for the community center, which would be entered on the second floor, with some larger spaces like classrooms on the first floor, more private spaces like offices on the third floor. It would face onto the park as does the TAF Bethaday Community Space elsewhere in WC. The apartment buildings are shaped in hopes of saving some of the “significant trees” on the site, she said.

Also from SKL, John Kennedy, who said an arborist identified 68 significant trees on site, 5 of which were in poor health and recommended for removal. There is no wetland on the site, he said, but there’s one nearby, a Type 3 wetland, which requires an 80-foot buffer.

Regarding parking, consultant Marni Heffron explained that the strategy will involve sharing parking because the complex’s needs will be in non-overlapping dayparts. It is proposed for 87 parking spaces in all. Larger meetings/events would be recommended for evenings/weekends when staff parking needs would be low. Heffron’s firm also did a traffic analysis and said the project would generate “a pretty modest number of trips compared to what (the nearby roads can) accommodate.” No further intersection improvements would be needed, her study showed. They’ve submitted the studies to King County for review.

TIMELINE/WHAT’S NEXT: Design will be finalized this year. They envision a year and a half of construction, so late 2023 is the current opening projection, if they break ground in spring 2022 as hoped. Getting full funding is an emphasis before then – they have several commitments putting them “over halfway there,” said Garcia, for the HUB building, a 24,000 sf building that’s estimated at $18 million. The housing project is estimated at $30 million. (The housing project was seeking [updated] one recent round of public funding but didn’t make the cut on first try.) They might need bridge funding to get there, but they’re hopeful, Garcia said. A fundraising campaign is under way now. And if you have comments and/or letters of support, HUB@wccda.org is where to send them.

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In-person or remote next year? Highline Public Schools asking families to choose by Thursday

May 24th, 2021 at 2:39 am Posted in Coronavirus, Highline School District, Schools, White Center news | No Comments »

If you’re a Highline Public Schools family, the district is asking for your decision for next school year – in-person or remote learning. They’ve set Thursday (May 27th) as the decision deadline. You can go here to make your choice; for more info on the 2021-2022 plan, go here.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center vandalism suspect arrested

May 21st, 2021 at 6:09 pm Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

6:09 PM: As reported here two weeks ago, the King County Sheriff’s Office knew who they were looking for in the serial business vandalism that’s plagued White Center – and now they’ve made an arrest. Announced by KCSO via social media:

The King County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to share an update to a May 4th post featuring a suspect who shattered a White Center business window using a rock.

Detectives in our Southwest Precinct, along with help from storefront and other deputies who know the White Center community best, identified the suspect. With the suspect’s name known, it took several days before they were located, then arrested.

Tuesday afternoon 05/18/2021, the suspect was booked into the King County jail for the 11th time since 2017. The suspect remains held without bail on a felony burglary charge.

7:10 PM: Despite the KCSO post mentioning that the suspect was still in jail, she’s not. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says the 30-year-old woman was released on personal recognizance Thursday, though prosecutors asked that she be held on $5,000 bail. She is not yet charged in this case – involving window-smashing at Macadon’s – but it’s under review by a deputy prosecuting attorney.

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Will county zoning change to deal with displacement? Conversation next week

May 19th, 2021 at 10:34 pm Posted in housing, King County, White Center news | Comments Off on Will county zoning change to deal with displacement? Conversation next week

Also next week, you can join a conversation about potential zoning changes and other “strategies” to deal with displacement. Here’s the announcement:

The Department of Local Services and the Department of Community and Human Services are co-hosting a virtual community conversation on potential new rules that would require developers to provide affordable housing as part of new developments in and around downtown White Center and the Skyway Business District. Additional rules are also being considered to incentivize developments where 100% of the housing is affordable. Join us to learn and participate!

The Zoom meeting will be the evening of Tuesday, May 25 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Registration is required.

Register at: tinyurl.com/IH4NHSWH. Registration closes 5/23/2021 11:59 p.m.

This community conversation will engage community members and developers in a deliberative dialogue around various components of potential new “inclusionary housing” rules for Skyway-West Hill and North Highline. Inclusionary housing is policy and regulatory approach to creating affordable housing by requiring that developers include housing units in their projects in exchange for additional density and/or adjustments to certain development regulations. Inclusionary housing has been used successfully across the US and in the Seattle area. This is the first time it is being considered for unincorporated King County.

To learn more about this topic and all the strategies being considered please visit: publicinput.com/anti-displacement.

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What’s up with the White Center HUB? Find out next week

May 18th, 2021 at 1:03 am Posted in White Center, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | Comments Off on What’s up with the White Center HUB? Find out next week

(Rendering by SKL Architects)

Wondering what’s up for the White Center HUB project proposed for 8th/108th? Your next chance for an update is next week, in an online meeting. Here’s the announcement from Aaron Garcia at White Center Community Development Association:

On May 26, White Center residents and community members can participate in a zoom webinar hosted by White Center Community Development Association, Southwest Youth & Family Services, Community Roots Housing, YES Foundation of White Center, and HealthPoint, to review updates on the HUB project. The HUB will be located on the site of a former public health center.

WHO: White Center community members, residents and business owners

WHAT: The “White Center Community HUB and Homes Open House”

WHEN: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | 05:30 PM

WHERE: Participants can register for the webinar link on www.wccda.org/hub

WHY: Participants can learn about the project through our timelines, pictures and can contribute feedback to its development.

The original proposal for the HUB included housing, but that was not funded by the state Housing Finance Commission, so Community Roots Housing said the housing and non-housing parts of the project might end up being developed at different times.

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YOU CAN HELP! Multiple volunteering possibilities for White Center Refresh

May 17th, 2021 at 4:07 pm Posted in How to Help, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP! Multiple volunteering possibilities for White Center Refresh

Lots of options for this year’s White Center Refresh! The invitation was sent by Mark Ufkes:

We need “I Love White Center” Volunteers!

White Center “Refresh” Spring Clean 2021

White Center Needs Volunteers for two 2-day sessions :

Friday and Saturday, May 21 and 22
Friday and Saturday, May 28 and 29
Volunteers who want to earn a “I Love White Center” T-shirt must sign-up and help complete one of the 15 projects listed below. The free T-shirt supply is limited so sign-up soon.

You can sign-up by sending a message by e-mail or text to volunteer Project Coordinator Mark Ufkes (email; markufkes@comcast.net or Text; 206-595-7124).

In your sign-up email or text, include your name, your shirt size, and the number of the project you want to volunteer for and show up at the location at the listed day and time. The Project Coordinator will promptly confirm your project assignment.

Once you arrive at the location on the day and time listed below, our crews will have all the gear you will need to complete the project and help you make White Center more beautiful.

We cannot be responsible for your children at these clean-up events. Please bring work gloves and rakes if your project includes yard work. All paint, brushes, rollers, etc. will be provided.

If you are a White Center business owner, we encourage you to clean up the area in front of your business while our volunteers do the larger White Center projects. Consider adding hanging flower baskets in front of your business, clean your front windows and nicely cover over or remove nearby graffiti. Our goal is to help you transform White Center during this two-week period.

White Center Projects include;

Friday, May 21

White Center Welcome Sign (4th SW and SW 108th) Mow and rake area, plant flowers under the sign. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Friday, May 21; 2 pm)
White Center Welcome Sign (Delridge and 18th SW) Mow and rake area, plant flowers under the sign. 3 volunteers, 2 hour (Friday, May 21, 4 pm)
Back Alley (SW 96th and Delridge SW) Paint over graffiti, match previously used brown and white paint to make the walls look nice. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Friday, May 21, 3 pm)

Saturday, May 22

Touch-Up Murals on both sides of street (107th at 16th SW) Touch-up existing murals on both sides of 107th, paint new murals, mow median strips. 10 volunteers, 3-4 hours (Saturday, May 22; 9 am)
White Center Plaza Building (98th and 15th SW) Paint over graffiti, paint walls to make them look nice. 6 volunteers, 3 hours (Saturday, May 22; 10 am)
White Center Bus Stop (100th and 15th SW) Paint over graffiti. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 22, 10 am)
Alley between 15th and 16th SW (Behind Proliteriat Pizza); Paint over graffiti. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 22, 11 am)

Friday, May 28

White Center Community Events Board (100th and 16th SW) Clean the Events Board display, paint the display. 3 volunteers, 2 hours (Friday, May 28, 2 pm)
Lions Mural Building (Roxbury and 17th SW) Touch up painting on murals, paint over graffiti. 5 volunteers, 2 hours (Friday, May 28, 3 pm)

Saturday, May 29

White Center Welcome Sign (Roxbury and 20th SW) Clean sign, plant flowers below sign, and rake and clean the hillside around the sign. 6 people, 2 hours (Saturday, May 29, 9 am)
9800 Block of 16th SW (Northmart and Starbucks area) Paint over graffiti, clean and sweep the area, pick up trash. 10 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 29, 9 am)
White Center Welcome Sign (10th SW and Roxbury) Mow and weed eat along the sidewalks between 9th to 11th, touch up mural, paint upper guard rail white. Park at the 10th dead end. 10 volunteers, 3 hours, (Saturday, May 29th, 10 am)
Saars Market Evergreen High School Art Class Mural; Touch-up the painted areas next to mural, make wall and area look nice. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 29, 10 am)
100th Block of 16th (south of Autozone); Paint graffiti on walls, rust red; make the walls look nice. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 29, 11 am)
White Center Eagles on 15th, paint graffiti, clean up area. 4 volunteers, 2 hours (Saturday, May 29, 11 am)

White Center Refresh Spring Clean 2021 is organized by the White Center Community Development Association (White Center CDA) and the all-volunteer Eagle Scout White Center Improvement Club.

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RapidRide H Line ‘groundbreaking’ tomorrow in White Center

May 17th, 2021 at 2:21 pm Posted in King County, Metro, White Center news | Comments Off on RapidRide H Line ‘groundbreaking’ tomorrow in White Center

During his State of the County speech last week, County Executive Dow Constantine announced plans for “groundbreaking” in White Center this week as the RapidRide H Line gets closer to launching. Work to prepare for the Route 120 conversion has already been under way on much of the West Seattle section of the route for almost a year – repaving and utilities. Today, details of this week’s event have been announced – 9:30 am Tuesday at Steve Cox Memorial Park. We’ll of course be there to cover it. P.S. Launch date for the new RapidRide has been pushed back three times but is currently set for next year.

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Street racers/stunt drivers and the State Patrol’s effort to stop them

May 14th, 2021 at 11:08 pm Posted in Crime, Safety, White Center news | Comments Off on Street racers/stunt drivers and the State Patrol’s effort to stop them

Multiple reports of street racing/stunt driving in White Center tonight. We don’t have specifics but earlier today, the State Patrol sent an update on their ongoing efforts:

In response to the increased illegal street racing and street/freeway takeover activities across the region, and inherent recklessness of those in attendance the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and multiple other police agencies throughout the Puget Sound region have come together to focus on this important public safety issue.

In early 2021 multiple King, Pierce, and Snohomish county police agencies came together and coordinated their efforts to respond to, and investigate illegal street racing related incidents in the region. In addition to law enforcement collaboration, local municipal and county prosecutors have voiced their support and dedication to improving public safety in responding to this significant public safety issue.

Since early March, investigators from the Tacoma and Kent Police Departments, the Washington State Fusion Center, and the WSP have all worked together to identify and arrest multiple suspected racers, and forwarded over 220 different charges against 29 different people in relation to these incidents. These charges range from Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, Disorderly Conduct, and Malicious Mischief all the way up to Vehicular Assault. Charges have been forwarded on suspected organizers, drivers and spectators who contribute to these events.

This problem is not new, nor is it unique to our region. In fact, this is a trend seen in many large cities across the country. But with it has come repeated instances of this reckless and irresponsible behaviors leading to serious injuries of those involved in the racing activities and the bystanders watching alike. It is a unified goal to bring attention, enforcement, and an end to the reckless behavior that has resulted in multiple fatal and serious injury incidents in relation to street racing events. These joint efforts and collaboration on the part of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors across the region will continue to be dedicated towards street racing as long as it continues to be a nuisance and danger to the public, as well as an inconvenience to those motorists impacted by this behavior.

Captain Ron Mead, commander of field operations for the WSP in District 2 (which encompasses all of King County), stated, “This regional problem exceeds the ability of any single law enforcement agency to address it alone. By working together we hope to bring these unsafe and illegal behaviors that pose significant risks to those involved, bystanders, and uninvolved motorists to an end. Through coordinated efforts, better use of resources, and collaboration with local prosecutors’ offices, participants in this dangerous activity will be held accountable for the betterment of public safety.”

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen A. Herschkowitz, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, added, “The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is committed to helping protect the safety of our communities’ streets by working closely with WSP and other county agencies for this special emphasis. ?While sometimes glamorized, reckless racing and drifting outside appropriate venues is extraordinarily dangerous. Recently, several people in our county have been severely injured, and one has died, as a result of these illegal street-racing activities. Our office is proud to provide legal assistance to our law-enforcement partners aspart of this emphasis team.”

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SUMMER: Application time for King County Parks’ new internship program

May 8th, 2021 at 11:54 pm Posted in Parks, White Center news | Comments Off on SUMMER: Application time for King County Parks’ new internship program

As noted at the end of our report on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s meeting, King County Parks has an internship program open this summer. Here’s the info to share with potential applicants for the first cohort of the King County Parks Youth Conservation Corps Internship:

Applications are open until May 30. We are looking for high school students (must be 15 years old by July 6) interested in learning about careers related to parks and the environment.

We will be hosting a webinar with more details about the program and the application process on Wednesday, May 12 from 3 pm – 4 pm. Interested high school students and their families can register here: kingcounty.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iTOF52PJRiCQoxC2qMtyPg

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Break in the vandalism case, plan to discourage natural-gas use, judge’s backstory, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

May 7th, 2021 at 1:49 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

“Celebratory and inspirational” is how North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Liz Giba described Thursday night’s meeting in its opening moments.

And as always, it was informational. The last guest of the night, in particular, so we’ll start with him.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE UPDATE: Deputy Bill Kennamer said the White Center business-vandalism suspect has been identified and “we just have to catch her now.” The detective has the case ready to file for prosecution and it will be filed, he said, including burglary charges. (For backstory, see the crowdfunding page.) As for overall stats:

41 vandalism and 44 commercial burglaries in the heart of WC in the past two years – that’s most of those two crime categories in unincorporated North Highline. Kennamer also offered his opinion that the policy of not jailing people for property crimes is “going the wrong way” – he agrees that they need treatment but right now there’s no place to take them for that. Other discussion included a note that KCSO has lost 85 people from the deputy ranks. “There is a TON of people working a TON of overtime” as a result.

Back to the celebration.

That was right at the start, as County Councilmember Joe McDermott joined the meeting to talk briefly about his just-passed ban of fireworks in unincorporated areas. He thanked community members for their encouragement, advocacy, and support of the measure, which passed on a 5-4 vote. He also reminded everyone that state law means this can’t take effect for a year – while enforcement won’t start the first year, so the county can do a study to be sure the penalties don’t lead to enforcement inequities.

Then the inspiration:

District Court Judge Fa’amomoi Masaniai, our state’s first judge of Samoan heritage, told his story. He talked about visiting White Center recently – having roots there – and noticing changes (“hey, where’s my Dairy Queen?”). He attended Evergreen High School (Class of 1987) with cousins who lived in South Delridge, and recalled walking through WC with them, from Evergreen to their home. He also remembered street violence back in the day “but we were able to make it through.” He said the new influx of money is exciting on one hand, but doesn’t want to see it lose its identity as a place where someone – say, an immigrant – could get their start. “It’s a different place, a different feel” now. He’s glad to see EHS back as a comprehensive high school, and has already been back to speak to the seniors. He shared reminiscences about sports glories.

Judge Masaniai had many other stories to tell, including working aboard a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. “It taught me what I didn’t want to do with my life” – 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, “constant physical work, you never got a break.” He subsequently worked as a bouncer, airport security, even a golf-course maintenance worker, while he sought other work – finally he got advice that getting a city job could follow if he volunteered. His first role was organizing files, one day a week, and he impressed his supervisor. Then he got to fill in as a bailiff. That led to work as a court clerk, “and I loved it, sitting in that courtroom.” He did that in Tukwila for a few years, working with a judge who encouraged him to go to law school. The UW rejected him. Seattle U put him on a waitlist. They accepted him – but his funding fell through. Then he got to study through a “Rule 6” training program which after 4 years enabled him to take the bar exam and become a lawyer. He started off as a Public Defender for small cities. “I got all this great exposure … and in 2006 I got this opportunity” to apply as an assistant attorney general in Samoa, where he went to learn more about everything from his cultural history to prosecuting. He went there on a two-year contract; after 18 months, he became an assistant prosecutor on a high-profile human-trafficking case.

He returned to the mainland and did civil legal work for 2 1/2 years before becoming a pro-tem judge; he started that work in Issaquah, then went to Seattle from 2014 until recently, handling all kinds of cases. But he “really wanted to be in the county” so he pursued pro-tem work in small cities, and continued kicking his quest for judicial work into high gear last year. Becoming a judge involves getting evaluated by multiple bar associations; he was evaluated by five, including King County. He won “exceptionally well-qualified” rankings from all five, he said. Then the district-court judgeship opened up, and he was one of three applicants. (Usually a judicial opening would have ‘eight or nine” applicants, Judge Masaniai said.) One withdrew before the interviews.

Questions: What do you like most about being a judge? “Helping people.” And “seeing success stories” – he told one about someone who successfully completed years of treatment, improvement, and other accountability after offending.

Also: What has he done to help youth? He has worked in the Juvenile Division, worked with Asian American/Pacific Islander advocates, and he has an ongoing relationship with EHS to help encourage youth to get and stay on the right path. “They don’t (always) know how to do this,” he said, so he asks, what do you want to do? What’s a path to success and a good life? Good grades, college, apply for a good job, get help if you need tutoring …

PERMITTING DIVISION: Nicole Sanders, who introduced herself as a principal planner for green building in King County, outlined proposed energy-code changes that will go to the County Council as legislation. They’re taking on natural gas, in particular.

The objectives: Reduce emissions; natural gas is a major source of the still-prevalent emissions. Here’s some of what they say is bad about gas:

They’re proposing banning natural gas heat in new multifamily and commercial buildings.

The proposal doesn’t affect existing houses

Here is what they’re proposing:

There was a comment period open until April 30th but they will accept comments through May 14th as they shape the legislation for sending to the County Council this summer.

Question: Are there still solar incentives? Some, said Sanders, including no state sales tax.

LOCAL LUNCH: Noon-1 pm Fridays, join the Department of Local Services online.

NEXT MEETING: King County Parks’ volunteer coordinator Lina Rose will be a guest, talking about a summer youth-internship program. Application deadline is May 30th, so apply now! Darlene Sellers says there are more paid summer gigs too. We will publish a separate story on that info when we receive it. The NHUAC meeting will be on the first Thursday as usual – June 3rd, 7 pm.

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PHOTOS: More volunteer love for North Shorewood Park

May 6th, 2021 at 9:35 pm Posted in How to Help, Parks, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Spring has sprung, and volunteers have sprung into action! Gill Loring sent the photos after a volunteer work party at North Shorewood Park last Saturday.

Gill reports that King County Parks has a new volunteer-program coordinator, Crescent Calimpong, and that participating volunteers on Saturday “were from all over the Seattle area.” North Shorewood Park has another event on September 11th; other KC Parks events are planned in the meantime.

If you’re interested in volunteering, find out how by going here.

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YOU CAN HELP: Crowdfunding to help White Center businesses recover from vandalism

May 5th, 2021 at 9:09 pm Posted in Crime, How to Help, White Center news | 1 Comment »

If you haven’t already heard about this – it’s gotten regional media attention – we’ve been asked to share the link for a crowdfunding campaign to help White Center businesses recover from vandalism. The GoFundMe page says businesses hit so far include:

· Salvadorean Bakery & Restaurant
· Bizzarro Italian Cafe
· Full Tilt
· Macadons
· Mynt Salon
· Decoraciones Ely
· Za-Za Boutique
· Crawfish House
· Beer and Wine Source
· La Tipica Oaxaqueña

If you can contribute, here’s where to go.

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